Brantley Leads Team To W, Jets Off To Austin

Quarterback John Brantley and top ranked Trinity Catholic secured a hard fought 28-10 victory on the road over Williston last night. Statistically speaking, it wasn't a game that will earn him all state honors. However, Brantley perfectly demonstrated the patience and never say die work ethic that separate winners from wannabes.

The Red Devils used their tremendous speed and athleticism to blitz him repeatedly. Williston has a few players who will pop you too. It was a physical, hard hitting contest that saw several players go to the sidelines for a few plays because of injuries. Brantley completed just 8 of 17 for 110 yards and three touchdowns. But, John Brantley didn't get rattled.

John Brantley delivered.

The cool Joe Montana-like -everything will be fine if we just keep working mentality- was alive and well in Williston on Friday. His head coach, Kerwin Bell, had that same quality as a player at the University of Florida. It's obvious that Brantley, ever a student of the game, has picked up those traits.

"They (Williston) blitzed every time," Brantley said. "They're a great football team. They gave us a scare early and played hard. They have a lot of athletes on the other side of the ball."

Trinity Catholic scored a touchdown in each quarter of the game. Williston had several successful offensive plays, but was shutout by a stingy Celtics defense in the second half.

Bell mixed an effective running game with a few deep passes by Brantley to senior wide receiver Patrick Nelson to win a contest that saw the Red Devils counter by eating up much of the second half clock with a pretty effective ground game of their own.

The Celtics finished the contest with 25 rushes for 238 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown run by Chris Allen to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Brantley was unable to hook up with highly touted receiver Dion LeCorn, who was blanketed by Florida baseball commit Jiwan James (6-4 180) of Williston.

No problem. Brantley connected with Nelson on touchdowns strikes of 34, 15 and 29 yards. Nelson is the brother of former Wichita Falls, Texas All-American (and current Florida) wide receiver David Nelson.

Trinity Catholic destroyed The Villages 73-7 in their season opener, whacked Arlington Country Day 68-6 last weekend, and put away a tough Williston team 28-10 in what figures to be their toughest regular season game. But, -are you ready for this- the Celtics offense has room for improvement.

Yes, the team that flat abused the Buffalos and Apaches and most recently, ripped the heart right out of the Red Devils should be much better in the coming weeks. That's scary. The way these first three played out, coach Kerwin Bell should expect letters of protest from PETA, the Department of Indian Affairs and the Church of Satan.

"We're used to last year's schedule, blowing everybody out," Brantley acknowledged. "We came with the mindset that we're going to do that again. That's a good mindset to have, but you can't overlook teams. They're first touchdown was just a wake-up call and after that we turned it on."

It's hard to imagine a Trinity Catholic offense that is already averaging 56.3 points per game and features a quarterback that has thrown for 562 yards and 14 touchdowns in just three games has room for improvement. But, he's right.

With this game in the bag the Brantley family will return to their Ocala home where their bags are waiting for a Saturday morning trip to Austin for the much-celebrated match-up of the top two teams in the land- Texas and Ohio State.

"We're flying out at eleven in the morning," his father, John Brantley III said. "We're really looking forward to it. We're going to stay with the Nader family. The Pianalto's will be there with us too. We're really looking forward to it. We'll have a good time."

"It will be the second time that the top two teams have met in the past ten years and I've been to both of them," he added. "The last was when Florida played Florida State."

Johnny Brantley is also looking forward to the trip.

"I've talked to Zack (Pianalto) this week," Brantley said. "I've talked to Tray (Allen). I've talked to Blaine (Irby). I talk to the guys every week. We're pretty close. I'm looking forward to getting over there and seeing everybody."

"I'm into it," he added. "But, I'm still at Trinity Catholic. I'm a senior and we want to win another state championship. So, I'm really just focused on that. I'll start worrying more about that and getting into that after the season."

Florida head coach Urban Meyer was on the sidelines for much of the first half tonight. The Gators are interested in a few of the guys playing in tonight's game- none more than Brantley and LeCorn though.

Brantley acknowledged that he is still being recruited by Meyer and Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, as well as, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.

"Yes sir," Brantley said with a grin. "They're still recruiting me. But, I'm still with my commitment. I haven't thought anything else. It's tough with all of the stress, but I'm solid in my commitment."

"Sure, it's just awesome to know that other people still want me. But, I'm committed. I'm committed to Texas."

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